4 Reasons to Skip Work When You’re Sick
Telling your boss you’re staying home from work can be awkward. And when taking a sick day—even when you’re really, really sick—it’s hard to not feel like you’re somehow letting your team down…
So instead of staying home, you might be inclined to take a few Advils, chug a Gatorade (or three), and head into work, braving the chills and hacking cough and bathroom breaks, as you wait for the clock to strike 5pm so you can go home and curl up in bed again.
Below are four reasons why you’re doing your co-workers and your company a favor by staying home from work when you’re sick.
1. Going to work sick is costing your company money
You might be surprised to learn that studies show presenteeism is costing employers more than absenteeism. In fact, presenteeism (going to work sick and being ineffective) costs employers $1,500 billion each year, while absenteeism (staying home from work) costs $150 billion.
So rather than going to work sick, being unproductive, and prolonging your illness, you should save your company 10X money and stay home from work. You can read the full study here.
2. You’re hurting your team in the long run
Germs and viruses spread through the noses and the mouths of sick people. So when you’re giving that presentation in the conference room, and you’re (very politely) coughing into your elbow every minute or so, you could be spreading particles with the potential to infect multiple people.
Last thing you want is to turn your office into a breeding ground for colds, coughs, sneezes, and the flu, but that’s exactly what you might be doing by coming into work with that throbbing head cold.
Experts recommend staying home from work if you have the following symptoms: cough with mucus, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, flu-like symptoms, or extreme fatigue. (And if you have a fever, you should stay home at least 24 hours from the time your fever goes away.)
3. You could prolong your illness
By going to work sick, you’re putting others at risk, absolutely, but you’re not doing yourself any favors either. Rest and sleep — with a big emphasis on sleep — are crucial to recovery. In fact, you should aim to add at least a full extra hour of sleep to your normal sleep time when you’re sick.
By staying home and resting up, you’ll be speeding up your recovery and getting back to work at one-hundred percent faster than you would otherwise.
4. It’s hurting your company’s culture
The culture of “suck it up and come into work” is a tough mindset to break, especially if it starts at the top of your organization. This attitude instills in members of the team feelings of shame and fear when staying home from work and recovering properly. The attitude also likely stems from a larger problem within the company culture: a lack of trust.
If you and your teammates truly trust each other (and you should), then you know that when someone says they are staying home from work, it’s because they care about the company and the team’s well-being, not because they’re playing hooky from work.
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